Indian National Overseas Congress Launches Its Michigan Chapter Amidst Great Fanfare and a Solemn Promise of Strengthening the Bonds Between the Largest and the Oldest Democracies …
The evening of June 19th, 2010 saw a significant event come to fruition in Grand Rapids, Michigan that is poised to strengthen the social, cultural, and economic bonds between the world’s largest and the oldest democracies: India and the USA. The Michigan chapter of the Indian National Overseas Congress (INOC) was launched amidst great fanfare, flourish and a resolve of purpose. Mr. Paramvir Singh “Sunny” Dhoorh was appointed as the inaugural President of INOC-MI. Mr. Dhoorh’s appointment was consummated by Mr. Surinder Malhotra, President of INOC-USA and INOC-NY as he wrapped the event-customized scarf bearing the Indian flag insignia around Sunny’s neck and showered him with accolades for his distinguished public service that encompassed both Indian and American communities in the USA. For Mr. Dhoorh, the honor of the new assignment was one more feather in his selfless community service cap and a significant extension of his on-going service in the capacity as Vice President of INOC-USA.
In his inaugural address as President of INOC-MI, Mr. Dhoorh said that he does not believe in dirty politics and works his “heart and soul” to accomplish whatever he believes to be a worthy cause for the people. He emphasized the role of values, self-discipline, and pursuance of the right causes he inherited from his parents that have guided him every step of the way in his journey of public service. He said that he began this journey in his formative years while in College as President of the Students Union. He said he was blessed by God and supported by his family and friends, in serving the social and human causes that impact the Indo-American communities in Grand Rapids and Michigan at large. Arguing a case for inclusivity, he drew a humorous response from audience when he said, “My name is Sunny Khan Singh”.
The last lap of his address included a declaration of the slate of the INOC-MI Office Bearers which spilled across the state, and an Advisory Committee headed by Neeraj Saini. The office bearers were called upon and recognized as follows: Manjinder Singh (VP from Walker), Pargat Singh Garewal (VP, Detroit), Rani Mahal (General Secretary, Canton), Manjeet Singh (General Secretary, Lansing), Dr. Ashok Kumar (Secretary, Grand Rapids), Gernail Singh (Secretary, Kalamazoo), Bob Khera ( Secretary, Detroit), and Resham Singh Saini (Press Secretary, Detroit). In addition, an Advisory Committee was announced that included Neeraj Saini, Chair; Dr. Vajendra Desai, Dilip Saxena, Dimple Singh (Jackson), and Kuldip Singh (Lansing). Notably, Dr. Kumar and Saxena are also currently serving as India Link Board member, former as VP.
Many readers may wonder what INOC stands for beyond the expansion of its acronym. INOC was constituted in India in 1977 with a view to promote the time-enduring values of democracy, secularism and pluralism that help governance of a country in non-authoritative fashion, consistent with humane values of compassion and non-violence. Recent impressive electoral win of the Indian National Congress in India that allowed the continuity of INC as ruling party has imparted a renewed momentum to harnessing and nurturing the affluence of Indian Diaspora overseas (popularly called NRIs or Non-Resident Indians) to promote and foster India’s core values of democracy, pluralism, and secularism enshrined in her Constitution. These efforts, it is stipulated, must be made within the overarching ambience of harmony and amity with the local and domestic people of the country they belong to. While the charter of objectives and strategic goals of the INOC-MI are being chalked out even as this news article is being inked, some of the goals of the umbrella organization (INOC-USA) and other chapters (e.g., INOC-UK, and INOC-Canada) will undoubtedly serve as compelling backdrops. These are: (1) to promote and propagate secular, pluralistic , and democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution of India . (2) To encourage and support NRIs residing in the USA at large and in Michigan in particular to engage with India n social and political leaders on an on-going basis to obtain greater exchanges in trade, economics, and business, as well as foster stronger cultural, and democratic ties between the two countries. (3) To have an on-going dialogue with Indian Congress leadership on policy matters especially the ones that impact the NRIs (4) To serve as the Resource Center of choice for the Indians residing in Michigan and USA at large to improve relationships and trade between the two countries; and the last but not the least, (5) To create and avail opportunities that would improve understanding and enrich the quality of life of the democratic societies of India and the USA consistent with the harmonious principles of commonwealth societies.
The salience of the event was evidenced by the presence of several distinguished community leaders, political leaders, business owners and executives, academicians and distinguished members of the society from all over the state. Some of the dignitaries who graced the event included Hon’ble State Speaker Pro Temp, Michal Sak; State Representative Robert Dean; State Representative Roy Shmidt; President of India Link Satpal Singh Makkar, Vice Chair of Michigan Democratic Party, Ramos Lupe; County Commissioners Pete Hickey; Jim Talant, Brandon Dillon, and numerous others.
It may be worth a mention that Sunny Dhoorh’s ( http://www.PCSmichigan.org) public service record is both commendable and voluminous. He has dedicated his life; indeed, since his college days, to improve the quality of life of countless individuals and groups both from Indian sub-continent as well as from United States. His accomplishments stem from his service in many leadership positions in social, religious
and political organizations. Among the notable positions, he was the Founder and President of Punjabi Cultural Society, Vice Chair of the Democratic caucus of Michigan, Board Member of India Link, Vice President of INOC, USA, and the latest one – President of the INOC – MI. His exemplary service is reflected in numerous awards and recognitions that have been bestowed upon him by the State of Michigan: Man of the year (2006, 7, 8 - three times), Amazing Asian Award (2006-7), Asian Image Award (2008), and Humanitarian Award (2009). He was also awarded the prestigious Amazing Asian Award by the Asian Center – all in just past three years.
The icing on the cake for the grand festivities and the strategic goal-focused progress of the evening was the sumptuous gala dinner that sent people – certainly those that love Indian cuisine – licking their fingers and ask for more. The economically-worded and thoughtful management of the podium by Harjinder Khera accentuated the overall organizational effectiveness of the evening. Plush red carpet, splendid décor, and opulence of the Banquet Hall of Crown Plaza Hotel created an ambience that delighted the distinguished audience on one hand and created an aura that appeared to encourage everyone to serve the causes of democracy and pluralism espoused by INOC with even greater dedication and commitment.
News Article Contributor: Dr. Ashok Kumar, Secretary, INOC-MI; VP, India Link